AFI FEST 2021: Festival Programming Intern Payton Ewalt Picks – American Film Institute

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AFI FEST 2021: Festival Programming Intern Payton Ewalt Picks

By Festival Programming Intern Payton Ewalt

I’d never imagined that the extent of my connection with AFI would go farther trying to complete the AFI 100 Greatest American Films list, but I was beyond lucky to participate in an internship this semester that allowed me to work closely with the amazing AFI FEST Programming team.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been privileged enough to screen incredible films, work with the film database and be a part of a wonderful team that immediately welcomed me and taught me everything to know about AFI FEST.

As a first-time festivalgoer, I’ll admit I’ve never been more excited for anything than to finally see how this all comes together!

From this year’s festival lineup, I’ve had far more than a few favorites, nevertheless, here are my top three short films:

MON AMI QUI BRILLE DANS LA NUIT

A ghost struck with memory loss makes an ephemeral friendship with Arthur, a human, and learns patience in its journey to the afterlife. Minimalist animation with striking colors are combined with the seamless blending of animation over realistic stills for a unique experience. This story becomes a film that makes you feel held in its comforting storytelling. It’s the ghost story that ghosts deserve to have, and one I loved watching. Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person as part of Shorts Program 2 | November 12, 6:00 p.m. | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

Virtual screening available beginning November 11, 12:00 p.m. PST | Buy Virtual Ticket(s)

SHARK

A film that makes you wish your intuition would be wrong. A man who loves practical jokes marries a girl who loves them just the same, but their story continues with some anxiety-ridden twists. With a wonderful cast and set to beautiful scenery, this makes for an entertaining short that plays off the rest of the films in Shorts Program 4 perfectly and shouldn’t be missed! Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person as part of Shorts Program 4 | November 13, 2:15 p.m.  | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

Virtual screening available beginning November 11, 12:00 p.m. PST | Buy Virtual Ticket(s)

ONLY THE MOON STANDS STILL (明月依旧)

Johnson Cheng’s heartwarming and heartbreaking film beautifully captures another facet of the Chinese-American experience through the relationship of a mother and daughter who choose to sacrifice for each other through trying circumstances. Grief, love and tradition are intertwined in this piece to transcend a culturally specific experience that becomes a part of a shared history for any audience. An absolute must-see! Learn more about the film. 

Screening in-person as part of Shorts Program 3 |  November 12, 9:00 p.m. | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

Virtual screening available beginning November 11, 12:00 p.m. PST | Buy Virtual Ticket(s)

With health and safety being top priority, AFI FEST 2021 will require all festival-goers who attend in-person events and/or screenings to be fully vaccinated.  Learn more about AFI’s annual film festival celebrating the best in global cinema at FEST.AFI.com.

Individual tickets and passes to AFI FEST 2021 are currently available on FEST.AFI.com. AFI Members receive exclusive discounts and benefits to the festival. To become an AFI member, visit AFI.com/join/.

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